Madison Mayor fixes Bus Rapid Transit route along State Street, despite further opposition

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – In the ongoing debate over Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations in downtown Madison, the city’s mayor remains committed to the route along a busy trade route.

Downtown Madison, Inc. on Wednesday announced its opposition to BRT stops along State Street, joining the interest of many traders.

“We absolutely believe BRT will be a godsend for the downtown area but better left in other potential locations,” said President Jason Ilstrup. “We think the trade-off is really to find new locations for these stations which are, frankly, a few feet from where they are today on the same route.”

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the route will boost shopping along the street.

She added that the city began an environmental study of the project six months ago and has already submitted a road plan to the federal government to secure $ 80 million in funding.

“If we were to change our route at this point, we had to go back to zero, restart all of our studies, and we would potentially lose all that funding and our place with the federal government,” Rhodes said. said Conway.

As NBC15 reported, State Street business owners backed off along the city’s proposed route past their stores.

District 4 Alder Michael Verveer, which serves downtown Madison, said when council members passed resolutions to introduce the BRT system in 2019, they were told the downtown route would be revisited.

“I hear two conflicting things,” Erin Vranas, parthenon Gyros co-owner, told NBC15 in June. “This is something where it’s very confusing for me.”

According to Tom Lynch, the city’s transportation director, the preferred BRT route has been on State Street since a 2013 report.

This week, the mayor announced an updated station design, making stops smaller and walls transparent to allow storefronts to be seen.

Goodman’s Jewelers owner John Hayes said: “[The mayor has] had some adjustments. I am okay. But I think those were in the back of his mind, how to start big and push down to get there. A lowered version is still not really usable for State Street.

Rhodes-Conway said that in the future, she expects environmental studies to be carried out within the next six months. Then the city will continue its design process with the Federal Transit Administration.

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